Pushkin's Button
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Pushkin's Button

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Pushkin's Button recreates the four months of Pushkin's life leading up to the fatal duel in the snow on January 27, 1837. Many theories have been advanced about the death of one of Russia's greatest artists, none of them wholly satisfactory. Serena Vitale has opened the archives and studies the case more closely, and more imaginatively, than anyone before her. Her brillia...more
Paperback, 355 pages
Published May 15th 2000 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1995)
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Lucinda Elliot
I found the information in this fascinating, and I thought it a shame that the style was so flowery that I found it rather offputting; this may be a fault in the translation, perhaps excellent Italian when not perfectly translated can come across as rather pretentious English? I wouldn't know, as I don't know Italian.

I had thought that David Binyon's biography was biased against d'Anthes, Pushkin's opponent and killer in his final duel. There, he is potrayed as almost a stalker, certainly as a...more
• La polonaise (in italiano polacca) è una danza in tempo moderato e ritmo di 3/4, caratterizzata dall'andamento maestoso e dal ritmo puntato dell'incipit.

La prima impressione che si ha iniziando il capolavoro di ricerca certosina di Serena Vitale, lasciati alle spalle l’indice, la dedica, le epigrafi e l’avvertenza al lettore, è quella di ritrovarsi all’improvviso in una tormenta di notizie: in una frenesia di dispacci, nomi che ancora non conosciamo si accavallano, si ripetono, si sfidano, si...more
Rachel Boling
I read about half this book. It was originally written in Italian, and translated into English, and maybe it lost something in translation, because I didn't think that it lived up to the reviews on the back. The author sometimes used her personal voice to tell the reader about how she found information, breaking the narrative flow, and she also inserted quotes awkwardly at times. I did learn a lot about Russian aristocratic society in the early 1800s. Apparently there were very loose morals, whi...more
Never put a poet with tendencies to delusions (or maybe just actual awareness) of his own grandeur in a butler uniform with funny buttons.
I came into this book with low expectations. First, I have always been suspicious of the title, which seems trite on a surface level. Second, literary histories and biographies can be the most boring, sterile reads out there, not to mention the most unreliable, if one is really looking for the artist and not the prejudices of the biographer. My expectations were happily proved wrong. This book was vivid, well written, constantly interesting, and told with an air of nonchalance and humor, detachm...more
Rebecca Huston
One of Russia's most beloved poets, Alexandre Pushkin, was murdered in a duel. But as to the why, that's always been a bit of a question, and here the mystery of Pushkin's duel, the links to his writings (most notably Eugen Onegin) along with his wife, her lover, and his demise is closely looked at. A very good, very interesting read.

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This is interesting only insofar as one learns something of the wild, impetuous personality of Pushkin and the events that lead to the duel in 1837 that resulted in his death. The book is overly long and poorly edited and I understand there are many more accounts of the events and circumstances surrounding this infamous incident that one might read if you're into Pushkin.
A gorgeous read and something I have no guilt about taking my time with. A portrait of Russia in the first half of the 19th century, the age and society which gave rise to the genius which continues to distinguish Russia today. One name in particular stands above the rest, a name that would remain a point of reference for one of the finest literary legacies in history.
Tim Werenko
So much juicy fun! I imagine it might be tough if you didn't know the story of the main players going in, but if you know anything of Pushkin, his flirtatious and beautiful young wife, or the dashing soldier whom she loved... This book shed some amazing new light on the love triangle that led to the duel where the father of Russian literature died.
Jul 09, 2010 Suellen rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Suellen by: Book Club
We had such hope for this book! We looked forward to it! It disappointed on so many levels.

However, it now reigns as the "worst book" we've read since 1986, so it has a fond place in our hearts.

Tina did a yeoman's job with leading the discussion.
Jun 13, 2008 David added it
Slow and unremitting, this is a fascinating and spell-binding work of scholarship. If you've ever wanted to know about Pushkin and his world, this is the one.
Un'interessantissima ricostruzione storica, una grande conoscenza della letteratura e della storia russa, una penna con un ottimo stile.
Yana Yakubsfeld
I aboslutely loved this book! So profoundly researched, and it reads like a gripping suspence novel.
un'indagine sulla morte di Puskin contestualizzata nell'ambiente della Sanpietroburgo dell'epoca.
An interesting look at Pushkin's death and everything that lead up to it.
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